latest GOOD NEWS DAILY

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Dear friend,

I couldn’t be more thankful that the Lord carries me through each and every day. Everyone has a story, and mine compared to so many other people’s stories has been nothing in the way of challenges. But the reality is, many would say my personal story has been enormously challenging – for decades, in fact. And indeed, if the truth be known, for me, it’s been extremely challenging. Grueling at times. For long seasons. With barely a break, it seems. Or it feels anyway.

But there is beauty in hard stories, friend, IF we place our hearts and lives in the hands of the Lord Jesus Christ. God can use our hard stories to make us more like Himself, He can use our hard stories to draw us ever closer to Himself into an ever deeper relationship with Himself, and He can use our hard stories to prepare us and use us to love, help, encourage, pray for, bless, and minister to other people as they go through their own hard seasons of their lives.

If you’re going through a hard season, or much if not most of your life has seemed like one big hard seemingly never-ending season, be encouraged. Place your heart and life in the hands of God almighty through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and see how God can bring forth beauty and blessings despite the hardness of your life.

In Jesus’ love for you,

lara

TODAY’S DAILY INSPIRATION

Back Through the Mountains“I would have lost heart, unless I had believed
That I would see the goodness of the Lord
In the land of the living.

Wait on the Lord;
Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the Lord!” Psalm 27:13-14

“being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;” Phil. 1:6

When I drove from the Florida Panhandle to Bristol, VA, for a night, then headed on to the Appalachian region of West Virginia for three weeks of ministry there, I didn’t realize I’d have to go through what for me were high and steep and scary mountains – especially with a very old car with very high mileage loaded down with me, the ministry’s 5 special needs doggies, and our belongings. How relieved I was to get to West Virginia. A beloved friend spent about 25 minutes on the phone with me praying me through some of the toughest part of the mountains. I then spent days begging people I met to tell me how to get out of West Virginia without having to go through such high and scary mountains. I was so thankful for their advice! Certainly I would get to my next location without such mountains!

Unbelievably, while the first experience in the mountains though very scary was fairly short-lived, what was supposed to be a much easier trip from what I had been told turned into about FIVE HOURS OF DRIVING THROUGH MOUNTAINS! Though not quite as steep and rapid in highs and lows as my previous experience, the fact it was FIVE HOURS OF MOUNTAIN DRIVING and that I couldn’t get my car past 40 miles per hour at times while cars sped by me made for an exceedingly stressful and exhausting trip.

Why would God take me back through the mountains? Why does God take us through mountains at all in life? This really wasn’t about physical mountains for me, I don’t believe. I believe it was a life lesson concerning the ups and downs of life.

You know, the Lord was as much with me at the tops of those mountains as He was at the lows of them. He was as much with me going up the mountains as He was going down the mountains. But the reality is I was pleased with Him when I was going through the easy parts of my driving that day, and I was upset and angry and distrustful when I went through the toughest places. As though somehow He has abandoned me in the harder places. And didn’t love and care for me then. Isn’t that what we sometimes do when it comes to the mountains and valleys of our lives? Don’t we sometimes love and praise and thank and tell people more about how wonderful is our Lord when we’re going through easier places? And don’t we sometimes get angry and hurt and bitter and prideful and doubtful and start to pull away or lash out or refrain from praising God and telling others about Him when we have to go through those really high and scary mountains?

God doesn’t change regardless of where we are when it comes to the mountains and valleys of life. But sometimes we change in the way we relate to the Lord because our faith and love and humility need strengthening.

I don’t know about you, but my heart and life ever need much strengthening when it comes to my faith in Jesus. Oh, sure, I have such a very strong faith compared with how my faith used to be. But still, my faith has such a long way to go – and grow.

Thankfully, the Lord is with me from start to finish as He is with all those who turn from their sins and believe He died on the cross to pay our sin penalty and was raised from the dead, truly devoting our lives to God and His ways.

And thankfully, the Lord will finish the work He starts in us when we commit our lives to Him. Ever making us more like Himself, drawing us closer to Him, forgiving us when we repent, teaching us His ways, preparing us for forever with Him, using us to help others to find and follow Him, growing us in our faith, testing us in our faith, loving us as He teaches us about Himself and giving us glimpses of His glory before one day we will be in His full forever glorious almighty presence, hallelujah, AMEN!

Oh, Lord, lead us all the way. Be with us all the way. Show us your glory, Father. Forever and ever, AMEN! Bring people reading this who do not believe in you as Lord into your Kingdom, leading them to repentance, helping them to believe in you as Lord, and strengthen those already in your Kingdom. Grow your Kingdom and encourage your followers through this writing you give to me to bring glory to your name. Oh, yes, Lord, yes, thank you, almighty Father, AMEN!

TODAY’S 365 BLESSINGS

365 BLESSINGS is a devotional book the Lord has led me to publish piece by piece even as I’m writing it rather than waiting until it’s in print to share it. Please join me & be blessed as I write my latest book…!

Blessing #41

“Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.” John 14:23

God almighty, Father in heaven, and Jesus Christ are ONE AND THE SAME LORD who along with the Holy Spirit are ONE FOREVER CREATOR AND EVERLASTING GOD and also God who appears in three different forms. Father. Son. Holy Spirit. What a creative, beautiful, priceless, precious, unique, awesome, awesome, awesome truth about God. In this verse, the Lord reveals to us that GOD THE FATHER and GOD THE SON in these two forms of God make their very HOME in those who LOVE AND OBEY JESUS! How so? God’s Spirit – the third form of God almighty! – takes up residence in us. This is a reminder that those of us who call Jesus Christ Lord are not to merely stop at calling Him Lord. We are to LIVE OUR LIVES ACCORDINGLY – as though He is Lord! Because He IS Lord! Forever Lord! Is it as hard for you to believe as it is for me that God would so bless us in our fallen, fragile, and fallible humanity – in all our imperfection – with WANTING to MAKE OUR HEARTS AND LIVES HIS HOME? Does that not give us all the more reason and incentive to LOVE AND OBEY HIM more and more – and more? Oh yes! Let us LOVE THE LORD! Let us in our love for the Lord OBEY THE LORD. And let us be EVER THANKFUL that our mere pitiful lives are HOME TO JESUS! Thank you God, oh thank you God! Thank you thank you thank you Lord!

TODAY’S THE CROSS DEVOTIONAL

Don’t Turn Away

“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.” 1 Cor. 15:58

Just nights ago, the Lord saved me from a near tragic catastrophe. I was in the thick of a fiery trial, of an incredible spiritual battle, I was exhausted, I was emotionally a mess due to a few simultaneous challenges, I was run down from an enormously long drive to my latest location, and I said something utterly horrendous to the Lord. I told Him I didn’t want Him to be my Father. I told Him I already had one father who doesn’t care about me. I didn’t want another one. I blamed Him for my circumstances, and for not setting me free from them, for a whole bunch of things in fact. I was beside myself. And even as all this occurred, I could hear the enemy, the devil, crying out to me that if I tell one more person about the Lord Jesus Christ, he would kill me. Spiritual battle? Understatement!

Friend, the Lord kept me from falling. Thanks to a rock solid relationship with Him, because I spend time with Him daily no matter what praying to Him, seeking Him, hearing Him, following Him, reading His Word, and reaching out to strong Christ followers, specifically to a group of women of faith around the country who walk closely alongside me in my relationship with God, I was loved through the battle, prayed for through the battle, encouraged through the battle, strengthened through the battle, helped through the battle, supported through the battle, and brought through the battle.

No matter how fiery the battle, friend, DON’T TURN AWAY FROM THE LORD JESUS CHRIST. Hold onto God, hold onto His Word, hold onto friends who follow Jesus, and follow Jesus faithfully forward.

The devil was taunting me with trying to convince me I should just give up ministry, and give up life, that I should think about suicide as the answer. Suicide is never the answer, giving up life is never the answer, giving up ministry is not the answer, and listening to and bowing down to the devil is never the answer.

The only answer when we go through fiery battles is to keep holding onto Jesus. Holding on tight. Holding on for dear life. As He leads us through the battle to victory. Victory in Christ. Victory for Christ. Hallelujah, friend, yes!

Am I exhausted from the battle? And from my daily challenges? Yes! But God gave me the grace and strength not to turn away from Him. Even as I started to turn away, He turned me back. Led me back into His everlasting arms. And He delivered me. And leads me on. In following Him. And He forgave me, and forgives me, when I fall, and fail, as I did then. In saying and thinking terrible things. He was, and is, so merciful when I repented – and repent. When we seek His forgiveness!

Follow Jesus, my friend. No matter how hard the trial, cling to Jesus. Cleave to Jesus. Fasten yourself to Jesus. Hold onto Jesus. And let the Spirit of Christ who lives inside His followers lead you on! To victory. In Jesus, AMEN!

Satan wanted to stop me from continuing to tell the world about Jesus. I know exactly what I’ll do. I’ll keep telling the world about Jesus. For the glory of God, yes!

Whatever God is calling you to do, no matter the challenges along the way, carry on! Following God! For His glory, yes, in His strength, in His love and mercy, by His grace, carry on. AMEN!

TODAY’S SERVING JESUS IN YOUR EVERYDAY LIFE

Twenty Minutes of Your TimeI have a friend I’ve known for years who takes probably no more than 20 minutes of her time each week, maybe sometimes a bit more, maybe other times less, to drive by my ministry mailbox in South Carolina to pick up the ministry’s mail and forward what needs to be sent to me wherever I am on the road for Jesus.

My friend thinks she is doing nothing. She can’t see the significance. But in the grand scheme of things, she has taken an enormous burden off my shoulders. I don’t have to worry about what happens to the mail, how it will get to me, when it will get to me, or whether if it’s something urgent how it will get opened before it gets passed along to me.

What does this have to do with you, you might wonder? My friend isn’t just loving and serving me. She’s loving and serving the Lord. See, her 20 minutes each week, or whatever amount of time it actually is, is 20 minutes devoted to Christ. And as seemingly insignificant the amount of time or the way that time is spent may seem to be to her or maybe even to you and others, the bottom line is she’s sowing into the Kingdom of God, into the work of the Lord, into the work for the Lord, into helping the world to hear and know about and believe in and follow the Lord Jesus Christ.

Are you taking time daily to love and serve the Lord? Please don’t underestimate what you can do in serving Christ whether it’s in 20 minutes and seems like such a small matter or whether it’s hours upon hours and seems enormously big. It’s really not about the amount of time or what we’re doing in that time. It’s about our hearts being oriented toward the Lord and our faithfulness in doing whatever it is He’s given us to do for Him no matter the time involved. No matter what, may we love the Lord, may we serve the Lord, and may we give the glory to the Lord! Let us be faithful to the Lord!

LATEST MINISTRY UPDATE & PRAYER REQUEST

I haven’t even been in New Jersey for two full days and am already getting restless. So typical of me. When will I find a place to stay in New York City? Will I have ministry opportunities in New Jersey? Will I find a vet in New Jersey especially for 15 year old Dancer who is approaching the end of his life – or so it seems – or will I return to the vet in New York City from last time I was there? When will I go take my next walk with the Lord? When will I take the wheelchair dogs for a walk? Will I ever get back to my new ministry websites? Needless to say, I’m not very good at being still – to say the least. And I need to do a much better job of trusting in the Lord and in His timing, too. Oh, what a long, long way I have to go. Thank the Lord He is in me and beside me and before me leading me forth.

How exhausted am I given my two years on the road for the Lord, combined with much recent spiritual warfare and all the aspects of leading this ministry including caring for the 5 ministry special needs dogs? Exhausted, exhausted, exhausted.

Please pray as you are led. May be good to pray that I would get some REST. Some people have trouble getting off the couch and getting out of the house and going out to love and serve the Lord. I have trouble slowing down and getting the rest I need so I can keep going out and doing the work to which the Lord has called me.

Friend, I trust the Lord to lead you in praying. Thank you, thank you, and thank you!

With love in His name,

lara

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